I first met Mike Hickman way back in about 1999, I think it was. We were at the then infamous 'lake jumps' near the Hamilton lake, pretty much some handily shaped lumps of grass designed for golf practice but better used for jump 'training'. Mike was aboard his Giant Cadex (I think it was?) a full XC gate of a bike. He was darting around the place shredding, and being about two foot taller than me, I vividly remember thinking how he was 'all legs' as they propelled him around the park. The other thing that struck me back then, and still does to this day, is Mike's enthusiasm to have some fun. Whether cutting shapes on the 'd-floor' or organising low-key event just for the heck of it, Mike is one motivated and enthusiastic dude.....
Ladies and gentlemen, get to know Mike Hickman.
How old are you? 29 years young. Where do you live? Hamilton, City of the Future?
What do you like best about living where you do? There is a cool group of guys here who like to ride and it is close to everywhere else rad.
What do you dislike about living where you do? Not much really, I just wish all my favourite riding buddies lived in the same town. Can’t have everything I guess.
What's your involvement with the Hamilton Summer Series? I sort of organise it. By that, I mean I came up with the idea of running a grass roots race series to get people pumped on riding and just plain having fun. It really doesn’t take much at all to make it happen. Thankfully I have a great group of guys keen to help out and get involved. Also, a huge thanks must go to R&R Sports Hamilton for getting behind it and providing their support with staff and prizes. You guys are awesome. What's the whole idea behind the series? Having fun on bikes with good people and getting the locals stoked on the riding opportunities we do have in the Tron. You’ve spent some time riding in Whistler, what was the favourite part of this experience? Jumping on the chairlift with a stranger. By the time you got to the top, you had made a new friend and you’d spend the rest of the day doing laps with them, learning new lines or opening their eyes to a part of the mountain they may not have seen before.
Why are low key / loosely organised events becoming so popular in your opinion? Because they are easy to organise, are stupid amounts of fun and bring together the competitive with the laid back in an environment that everyone feels welcome in.
How did you get involved in the MTB scene to begin with, how long ago was that? My buddy Hayden got me hooked. I was into riding as soon as I put my leg over my old HMX 500 at the age of 5, but Hayden got me into DH when I was 16. I was the kooky guy with no style and no gear, but I still had fun. I’d like to think things have changed a bit in the style department now, but I’m still having as much fun as ever.
What's your 'day' job? I’m the Fleet Data Controller for Eagle Airways Ltd. We fly those small 19 seat aircraft that are part of the Air New Zealand link.
What are your plans for the rest of the New Zealand summer? I’m pretty keen to seek out some new riding spots. I haven’t done Moerangi yet, you keen for a mission??
Who do you think was the most legendary MTB rider in the World in the last 15 years and why? Woah! That’s a tough question. I’m going to have to have two here, one for the girls and one for the guys. Anne-Caro as she is just plain talent on two wheels and has a mental toughness that is pretty rare, not to mention winning a bunch of titles across different disciplines. John Tomac for the same reasons as above, even if he is old school now. Riding as fast as he did downhill on drop bars….come on, that’s enough reason right there.
What's wrong with mountain biking? Nothing.
What's right with mountain biking? Group rides with friends. That’s what got the sport started and that is what continues to make it so much fun.
What websites do you hit daily? Spoke, Vital MTB, Dirt and my guilty pleasure, Facebook.
Who do you look up to? People taller than me and those people out there who are getting involved in the sport and pushing it along. Guys like Tim Lawton and the infamous League of Gentlemen spring to mind.
What are your vices? Food and coffee and talking too much.
A bit of word association:
- Dirt jump Steeeez
- Cross Country Pain
- Downhill Speed - Juniors Hilarious
- Whistler Heaven
All riding photos thanks to Simeon Patience